Beneath a crystal chandelier, a young woman stands in stiletto heels. Fishnet stockings crisscross her legs, garter belt supporting the hose. A black corset cinches her waist into an hourglass silhouette.
A man wears a similar outfit nearby.
At the Orpheum theater's recent screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show — part of its summer movie series — the cult classic is alive all around me.
According to Kate Hackett, executive assistant to Orpheum president and CEO Pat Halloran, the screening and costume contest "give people a good reason to get together and have a fun time."
And, she adds, "People can get their 'freak' on!"
During the costume contest, 30 men and 30 women mimic Rocky Horror characters, and they don't hold back. The charismatic emcee of the competition, last year's male winner, bears a striking resemblance to the film's main character, Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
Kat Sacco is dressed as Magenta, wearing a white bow around her neck, black fishnets, and sexy shoes.
"I'm absolutely in love with this movie because it's so open-minded," Sacco says. "I like dressing up, but I'm too old for Halloween."
Among the males competing is a heavyset young man in a corset and heels, a red-and-black boa snaking around his neck. The contestants have few — if any — inhibitions. That statement proves especially true for a middle-aged woman who teases the crowd with glimpses under her bathrobe.
"My name is Dazzle, in case my kids don't want everyone to know my real name," she tells the audience.
During the movie, crowd members who have purchased prop bags wear party hats that resemble dunce caps and throw rice and toilet paper. Most of the audience has memorized the script and shout particular phrases at the appropriate times. With each appearance of the character Janet, for instance, a chorus of "Slut!" rings out from the audience. I know I'm in the company of true Rocky Horror fans when people leap from their seats to dance "The Time Warp."
But my favorite moment isn't watching the audience dance or sing or even hold the Flyer over their heads while Brad and Janet run from the rain.
Instead, during the song "There's a Light," movie buffs, black-clad goths, middle-aged couples, music enthusiasts, and drag queens extend their lit cell phones, swaying the glowing lights in unison.